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Sentences
  What is a sentence?
    Simple and longer sentences
    Common mistakes

Verbs
  Main verbs
    Common mistakes

  Agreement
    Common mistakes

  Present; past; future tenses
    Consistent tenses

  Personal or impersonal
    Active
    Passive
    Third person

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Starter Level Advice

Sentences - What is a sentence ?

A sentence is "A series of words complete in itself as the expression of a thought" (The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 1993).

A sentence must have at least a subject, a main verb which agrees with it, and a full stop at the end.

This is the basic rule of English. Many, many students do not always follow it.

Video clips - lecturers' comments

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Lecturer Name: Steve Harriman
Lecturer Description: Teaches Communications in the Faculty of Arts, Computing, Engineering and Science (ACES)

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Lecturer Name: Jenny Shelton
Lecturer Description: Teaches Biochemistry in the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing

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Example
This is the simplest type of sentence possible.
The dog ran.

The dog is the subject and ran is the verb.

Ran agrees with the dog.

In the following sentence the verb does not agree with the subject. It is incorrect.
*The dog run.
The correct version would be
The dog runs.
(Note. The forms of the verb are I run, you run, he/she/it runs, we run, they run.)

Sentences often also have an object.

Example

The dog ate the bone.

The dog is the subject, ate is the main verb, the bone is the object.

© Learning & Teaching Institute, Sheffield Hallam University 2004